Fry and Drew Current Research: Tema Manhean, Ghana

The planning of late colonial village housing in the tropics: Tema Manhean, Ghana


The Surf Boat Harbour at Accra, before the construction of Tema Harbour. Image c. 1920s, courtesy of Wirral Archives

This paper examines the planning, physical development, and housing in Tema New Town, an appendix of the newly created Tema industrial and harbour city, located on the northeastern part of Accra in the Greater Accra Region in Ghana. The city and its appendage were designed and built during the 1950s, as the country was rapidly approaching political independence. Tema, originally an old Ga-fishing village, became a significant part of a much larger and ambitious scheme, known as the Volta River Project proposed as part of Kwame Nkrumah’s domestic policy, embracing multifaceted and multidimensional development projects. These projects were to serve as a symbol of ‘progress’ and were part of Ghana’s desire for modernization as it emerged from a colonial past. The related schemes were largely funded as a result of the British Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, and this paper investigates the implementation of this policy and the effect that it had on physical planning and provision of architectural solutions in Ghana.


Maxwell Fry’s sketch of the ‘traditional’ Compound House, from Village Housing in the Tropics


One of Fry and Drew’s plans for the fishing village of Tema Manhean, Ghana.

The full paper, published in Planning Perspectives can be read at:

  1. Rowina said:

    Dear Jacksoniain,

    I am writing to ask you where can I find a high resolution version of the photos and drawings posted here to feature in one of our publications: Selections magazine, under the article of Tropical Architecture/Fry and Drew.
    Please let me know,

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